We have a hickory tree in woods near our home, a lone tree in the middle of a wooded area that typically drops a few dozen nuts.
This year, the green-shelled nuts have fallen by the hundreds, coating a section of the woods. And some creatures have been cracking them open and chowing down.
From what I understand, deer don't like hickories in their shells, as they are tough to crack, but they will eat nuts that have been cracked open by squirrels or other denizens of the woods. With a good crop of acorns in the same woods and strong berry and apple crops as well, there seems to be plenty of food for wildlife as we head into fall.
That's good news and bad news for hunters.
Plenty of food is good to keep the herd healthy, but it means that deer, bears and turkeys won't have to roam far to find meals. So they will be able to lay low, not expose themselves and fatten up for winter.
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Early bear season started Saturday in parts of the Southern Zone, and it will start in the Adirondacks this Saturday, Sept. 14. Bear complaints tot he DEC have been down this year, which means that they are finding food in the woods, and will be tougher to locate without some scouting.
Early bowhunting for deer in the Northern Zone on Sept. 27, and Oct. 1 for the Southern Zone. Oct. 1 is also the start to fall turkey hunting.
We are lucky to have the zone boundary run through our region, so it's easy to move between zones and get some hunting in when conditions are good.
-- Don Lehman